With just a week until the annual Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival, I thought as its the tenth year of the festival, I’d go back over the history of the event, as well as giving you some information on what you can expect from it this year.
The very first Chocolate Festival was on Sunday April 5th 2009, the number one single in the UK charts at the time was Lady Gaga, giving away no hints with her Poker Face, if you can cast your mind back that far (here’s a link to the original programme). The brainchild of Paul Morris who having recently opened The Chocolate Cafe wanted to promote the café and the town.
The festival first started life as a handful of stalls featuring traders such as Slattery’s, Meantime Chocolate Beer and Ramsbottoms regular Park Farm. There were also activities such a Giant Easter Egg Competition, World Record attempt at Most Ferrero Rocher Eaten in 1 Minute and even Chocolat being screened by Real2Reel Cinema.
From these beginnings the festival has grown year on year, Paul Morris has now sold the chocolate café and neither he nor the cafe have any involvement in organising the festival.
I spoke to Terri Fletcher of Ramsbottom Markets to get the lowdown. Terri and her husband began helping with the festival as volunteers back in 2010 having opened a shop of Bridge Street (Purple Tiger).
In 2016 the festival received a record number of visitors so in 2017 the footprint of the festival was extended to use more of the town centre.
This was in part to encourage people to wander around the Town enjoying all of the independent shops and bars along their way. It was also to make the chocolate festival easier to move around.